Saturday, January 27, 2018

Private Eye just masterfully exposed the ridiculous reality of Tory cronyism


Since the neoliberal age began under Margaret Thatcher in the late 1970s, Britain’s formerly state-owned industries and assets have been systematically sold off one by one into the hands of private companies and individuals. 

Not content with selling almost the entirety of Britain’s family silver, both the Tories and New Labour continued this neoliberal privatisation bonanza, concocting ever-more outlandish schemes that conveniently siphoned off taxpayer’s money and assets into the hands of private individuals and corporations, rather than back into the public purse.

Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) were one such method. First envisioned by the Tories under John Major, and which proliferated under the New Labour administration of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, PFIs are essentially scams used by governments to finance infrastructure projects by borrowing money from private companies. They left the incumbent government looking good in the short term as PFIs allowed them to keep the borrowing off the balance sheet, but they burdened future governments with the cost of paying off the exorbitant amount of interest attached to such schemes.

The British taxpayer will fork out more than £200Bn because of these PFI scams – a method which has now been exposed as costing 40% more than if governments had simply used public money for the projects. All of this £200Bn of taxpayer’s money will end up being trousered by already wealthy private shareholders.

It is often argued that PFI scams were allowed to proliferate under New Labour because Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were desperate to shed New Labour of the ‘tax and spend’ label that the Tories had successfully branded them in previous decades. Ultimately though, New Labour’s choice to use such obviously short-termist and financially irresponsible schemes was because, seemingly devoid of any principles or willingness to fight, they simply capitulated to the Tories’ neoliberal political arguments instead.

Not only did the Tories have the super-rich media barons almost exclusively on their side, the 1970s heralded the invention of ‘thinktanks’. 

These supposedly ‘independent’ institutions were set up by wealthy groups and individuals with the sole aim of pushing a political agenda. And what, I hear you ask, was their political agenda of choice? 
Privatisation, of course.

Privatisation is essentially a far more efficient way for governments to ensure the money they spend remains in the pockets of their ‘own kind’ – the super rich elite.

Conservatism, as the definition of the word implies, is all about attempting to maintain the status quo – it is an ever-evolving ideology created by a ruling elite who were afraid of losing their dominance to simply retain whatever powers and wealth they could. However, the genius of neoliberalism was that it enabled the Conservatives (and the pro-neoliberal New Labour Party) to allow the ruling class to wrestle back more power and more wealth than they could ever have hoped for, and concentrate it in the hands of an even smaller group of people than before.

However, not content with seeing their wealth and power increase dramatically over the last four decades, the ruling elite are always on the lookout for new scams to pull to ensure they remain wealthy and powerful – and simply handing jobs to their mates is another method they use to ensure they stay as top dogs, and everybody else remains fighting eachother for the scraps.

Cronyism is nothing new in politics – with most people having heard of the phrase ‘jobs for the boys’. But the neoliberal age, with what has essentially become a virtual merging of politics and business, has seen brazen political cronyism run rampant.

And so, here’s Private Eye’s take on just how ridiculous the reality of Tory cronyism has become under neoliberalism:


So, after reading that, don’t you think Britain might be due for a little bit of a change? How about electing somebody who has always stood up for the little guy rather than the interests of their super-rich mates. How about voting in someone who has fought tirelessly to end the scourge of poverty and homelessness. Someone who has always stood up to the establishment and done everything in his power to try and put a stop to a seemingly endless stream of corruption and war. Someone with principles and a vision of how Britain really should be. Someone who truly believes Britain should be a more equal, more just, more tolerant society. 

It is clear that neoliberalism is the problem, and Britain finally has someone willing to solve it.

Source : evolvepolitics.com


Uber’s Cover-Up Of Data Breach, Is Worse Than The Crime.


On Nov. 21, 2017, Uber Technologies, Inc., the embattled San Francisco ride-hailing company, disclosed that two hackers had stolen data concerning 57 million driver and rider accounts, including phone numbers, email addresses and names of Uber riders from a third-party server and demanded $100,000 to delete their copy of the data.

In a classic example of the “cover-up being worse than the crime,” Uber shockingly revealed that it acquiesced to the hacker’s demands by paying the $100,000 ransom and then engaged in a plan to cover-up the hack for more than a year wherein Uber’s customers and drivers were never informed that their personal information had been stolen. 

Uber’s inexplicable delay in informing the public and its customers of the 2016 data breach has placed it in the regulatory and legal cross-hairs of the Federal Trade Commission, at least three European government agencies, the National Privacy Commission of the Philippines, the New York State Attorney General’s office, the New Mexico Attorney General, and the Los Angeles City Attorney (through a lawsuit filed earlier this month).

Data breaches at companies large and small can and will happen, but Uber’s current and, likely future, regulatory and legal entanglements reveal that hiding, ignoring or covering up a data breach is far worse than simply addressing the breach when it occurs.

While recklessly irresponsible, Uber’s attempted cover-up of the 2016 hack and data breach sadly mirrors the approach utilized by many companies seeking to avoid their responsibilities under various data breach notification laws. Based on information currently available, Uber attempted to conceal the 2016 data breach that affected 57 million accounts. In addition to the names, emails and phone numbers of riders, about 600,000 U.S. drivers’ license numbers were accessed. In private, Uber acquiesced to the demands of the hackers and then went further by attempting to hide the breach.

Uber’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, under the watch of former chief executive, Travis Kalanick, arranged a deal with the hackers to pay the $100,000 ransom. According to the New York Times, Uber tracked down the hackers and pushed them to sign nondisclosure agreements. To further conceal the damage, Uber executives also made it appear as if the payout had been part of a “bug bounty” – a common practice among technology companies in which they pay hackers to attack their software to test for soft spots. 

The details of the breach and cyber-attack remained hidden until November 21, 2017 when Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s new CEO as of August, disclosed the breach to the public as part of an attempt to regain public trust in the company after Uber’s purportedly toxic workplace culture came under scrutiny under ousted CEO Travis Kalanick.

While Mr. Khosrowshahi seeks to get in front of Uber’s breach cover-up by voluntarily disclosing details of the hack and Uber’s failure to notify customers, the response by regulators shows that we are venturing into a world where a company’s failure to comply with data breach notification laws by ignoring or covering up the breach will no longer be tolerated.

As a result of Uber’s efforts to conceal the data breach, Uber’s chief security officer was fired. A Federal Trade Commission spokesman said the agency is “closely evaluating the serious issues raised,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn) said on Twitter that the Senate Commerce Committee should hold hearings to “demand Uber explain their outrageous breach – and inexplicable delay in informing its consumers and drivers.” According to The Wall Street Journal, the New York Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation.

In addition, New Mexico’s Attorney General issued a letter to Uber demanding that the company provide more information within 10 days and referred to the breach and Uber’s response as “gravely concerning.”

Overseas, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which oversees data protection in the country, said it would assess how the breach affected people in the U.K. and what steps Uber would need to take to better comply with data-protection requirements. The office has the power to fine Uber up to £500,000 ($665,000) for any wrongdoing. The deputy commissioner of the Information Commissioner’s Office noted that “[d]eliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies.” Likewise, data protection agencies and regulators in the Netherlands (the location of Uber’s European operations), Italy and the Philippines have launched investigations into the incident and were incensed by Uber’s lack of transparency and failure to adequately respond to protect customers once it learned of the data breach.

In California, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Uber asserting that Uber violated California’s Data Breach Notification Law (California Civil Code Section 1798.82) by failing to promptly report the breach. Under California Civil Code Section 1798.82, California companies are required to report hacks “in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.” At a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles City Attorney Feuer stated, “[w]e’re taking action because we believe very strongly in the importance of protecting consumers.”

While it is not yet known how many drivers in California were affected by the hack and Uber’s cover-up, the City of Los Angeles’ lawsuit seeks $2,500 for each violation of the law. It has been reported that about 600,000 U.S. Drivers’ license numbers were accessed in the attack. Even by conservative estimates, Uber’s exposure in the City Attorney’s lawsuit alone could reach tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.


Conclusion

The Uber breach and cover-up is an ongoing and developing story that reinforces the importance of transparency and taking data breach notification laws seriously. We continue to advise our clients to take proactive and vigilant steps now to ensure personal information and critical data in their possession is adequately protected. 

We also stress the importance of correctly and lawfully responding to a data breach should it occur at our clients’ businesses. The first step is to develop and disseminate a basic privacy practice and strategy to reduce the risk of a data breach actually occurring. As a starting point, limiting the personal information collected and retained can provide the strongest protection since a hacker cannot steal data containing personally identifiable information if the company does not keep such data. Companies should next focus on securing any private or sensitive data that they must maintain to prevent any unauthorized access. The use and retention of highly trained information security professionals is essential at this stage.

Even with the most sophisticated security measures in place to protect the disclosure of private information, companies are at risk to a hack or data breach. For this reason, a data breach response plan is essential to guide a company if, and when, a breach occurs. For California corporations, the retention of legal counsel to prepare the data breach response strategy is highly recommended to ensure that all measures comply with California’s existing data breach notification law.

Uber’s recent regulatory and legal troubles regarding its failure to properly notify its drivers and customers of the 2016 data breach serve as a reminder that the cover-up is often worse than the crime

Source : The Signal 

Friday, January 26, 2018

You Can Buy Diesel/Petrol From Any Garage In UK, But You Won't Get ThisWith Electric Charging.



Shell Garrage, Holloway Road...3 Different Formats Plugs!!!

German carmakers hope a network of high-power charging stations they are rolling out with Ford will set an industry standard for plugs and protocols that will give them an edge over electric car rivals.

At the moment, Tesla and carmakers in Japan and Germany use different plugs and communication protocols to link batteries to chargers, but firms building the charging networks needed for electric vehicles to become mainstream say the number of plug formats will need to be limited to keep costs down.

Carmakers behind the winning technology will benefit from having an established supply chain and an extensive network, making their vehicles potentially more attractive to customers worried about embarking upon longer journeys, analysts say.

Manufacturers that back losing plugs, however, could end up with redundant research and development and may have to invest to adapt assembly lines and vehicle designs so their customers can use the most widespread fast-charging networks.

Swiss bank UBS has estimated that $360 billion will need to be spent over the next eight years to build global charging infrastructure to keep pace with electric car sales, and it will be key to limit the numerous technologies now in use.

"The quick-charging marketplace might be growing fast but the issue of different types of connectivity and communication will need to be resolved going forward," UBS said in a study published this month.

To try to build critical mass for the Combined Charging System (CCS) favored by Europe, BMW, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen group, which includes Audi and Porsche, said in November they would develop 400 high-power charging stations on main roads in 18 European countries by 2020.

"In the end, it is about safe-guarding investments for those that are investing in electric mobility," said Claas Bracklo, head of electromobility at BMW and the chairman of the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), which is backing CCS.

"We have founded CharIN to build a position of power."

It is still early days for electric cars and difficult to predict which plug technology will prevail or even whether there will always be different ways to charge vehicles, unlike the one-size-fits-all nozzle that can refill all petrol cars.
But there is a lot at stake for the carmakers ploughing billions of dollars into the development of batteries and electric cars.

FORMAT WARS
Besides CCS, there are three other standards that will charge batteries fast: Tesla's Supercharger system, CHAdeMO, or Charge de Move, developed by Japanese firms including carmakers Nissan and Mitsubishi, and GB/T in China, the world's biggest electric car market.

"I think over time CHAdeMO and CCS converge, likely into the current CCS standard, and the jury is out as to what will happen to Tesla," said Pasquale Romano, chief executive officer of Silicon Valley-based ChargePoint, which runs one of the world's largest charging station networks.

So far, there are about 7,000 CCS charging points worldwide, according to CharIN, with more than half in Europe. The European Union backs CCS as the standard for fast-charging but does not prohibit other plugs being installed.

That compares with 16,639 charge points compatible with CHAdeMO - most in Japan and Europe - and 8,496 Tesla Superchargers, with the majority in the United States. In China, there are 127,434 GB/T charging stations, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 
Promotion Alliance.

Just as in previous format wars such as the battle for videotape dominance between VHS and Betamax, each charging standard has its pros and cons.

Tesla's system is exclusive to its clients, for example, while CCS features a double-plug that can charge DC and AC, increasing the number of spots where drivers can recharge.

CHAdeMO, meanwhile, allows cars to sell power from their batteries back to the grid, a process known as bi-directional charging that can help stabilize energy networks in times of demand swings and earn car owners some extra cash.

"If I were Nissan, I'd be wanting to take that standard and make it the dominant one," said Gerard Reid, founder of Alexa Capital that advises companies in the energy, technology and power infrastructure sectors.

"It creates a competitive advantage for them," he said. 

TIME IS TIME
Most plugs used to charge cars at home use alternate current (AC) and are slow, so building networks that can power vehicles fast when on the road is seen as key by the industry, given many potential consumers still worry about battery range.

Able to deliver more powerful direct current (DC), fast-chargers can load electric cars up to seven times faster.

The fastest DC stations, capable of delivering up to 400 kilowatts, can recharge cars within 10 minutes, a vast improvement on the 10-12 hours it can take to reload at some AC charging points today. 

Developers hope drivers will feel more confident about undertaking longer journeys if they know they can reboot with a quick pit stop similar to stopping at a petrol station.

With that in mind, the joint venture set up by the German carmakers and Ford to install CCS fast-chargers has teamed up with companies that have service station networks in Europe: Shell, OMV, Germany's Tank & Rast and retailer Circle K.

For traditional carmakers, getting ahead in the electric car race is also about staying relevant in an industry that has been shaken up by Tesla.

Elon Musk's company is now worth $11 billion more than Ford, even though Tesla delivered just 76,230 cars in 2016 while the U.S. car industry pioneer sold 6.65 million vehicles.

The German carmakers teaming up with Ford, however, believe their deeper pockets should give them the upper hand in the long run and they see charging technology as an important factor in the fight.

TIPPING POINT
For now, CCS, Supercharger and CHAdeMO plugs continue to be installed in Europe as well as the United States, while China is pressing ahead with GB/T, suggesting it is too early to call a winner in the plug wars - especially as no carmaker will want to lose out on the Chinese market.

Tesla, for example, said in October it was modifying its Model S and Model X cars for China to add a second charge port compatible with the country's GB/T fast-charging standard.
Most other rivals are also incorporating the GB/T standard into their vehicles for China, which has ambitious quotas for electric car sales, although some industry officials still hope the country will adopt one of the other standards at some point.

While sticking with developing its proprietary network for now, Tesla is a member of the CHAdeMO and CharIN initiatives. It is also selling adapters so owners of its cars in North America and Japan can use CHAdeMO charging stations.

Tesla declined to comment on whether it would consider joining a rival charging standard at some point, a move analysts say could be a tipping point in the race for plug dominance.

"For Tesla it was always very important to have a charging infrastructure for our clients from the get-go," a spokeswoman said, adding that it welcomed all investment in car charging.

Tomoko Blech, who represents CHAdeMO in Europe, said fussing over which standard would prevail was not helpful given that the electric car industry was still in its early days and carmakers should fight it out with their models.

Some also argue there will always be several ways to charge battery-powered cars.

"If you drive a petrol car you can fuel it any place in the world. This is the best you can get," said Nicolas Meilhan, principal analyst at consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

"You will not get that for electric vehicles."

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Jeremy, what car would you give to your worste enemy?




Theresa May, "Women Are NOT Objects To a Be Used By Men"...Unless TheyWork For Uber.

LETTERS TO TAXI LEAKS, FROM LAURENCE GREEN:

 "The answer isn't to shut Uber down" said Theresa May.

        


So finally the cab driver that went to see Theresa May in her constituency gets his answer; while at the same time Uber gets a massive plug on the World stage yesterday at the Davos World summit – regardless of the fact Uber embraces the value of being corrupt and epitomises everything a business shouldn't be.

IMO, Uber runs its worldwide operation like organised crime mobsters, yet the UK' PM sees them as a viable entity - she shows no concern or empathy to the ruined lives this corrupt company leaves in its wake: 

Fraud, perjury, rape, tax evasion, corruption, lies and a regulator infested with corrupt corporate criminals, and Theresa May sees all of this as making a few mistakes along the way – it is my opinion that this government and in particular Theresa May has no moral compass whatsoever!
In a previous posting I questioned whether we actually live in a real democracy, or some sort of fascist state; I am convinced now, more than ever it is definitely the latter – when legislation, laws and regulation is used to oppress and victimise, no other conclusion can be reached!

Theresa May and the Mayor Sadiq Khan, are fully aware that Ubers appeal is one that can never be upheld in a court of law, as Uber obtained their licence to operate fraudulently – this on its own is enough for Uber to lose the appeal on day one!

If you read between the lines of Theresa Mays speech in Davos, it's clear the agenda isn’t to ban Uber; but to alter the regulations by removing the stumbling blocks in legislation to legitimise what is at present totally illegal – this isn’t the politics of democracy at work, it's the politics of fascism, driven by corporate greed – it will take time to do this – this is why I believe TfL didn't revoke Ubers licence and opted for an extension followed by a refusal to renew. It IMO it gave TfL the opportunity to obfuscate things and distance themselves from the corruption.

Serious fraud crimes have been committed at all levels – this isn’t hearsay, its fact, backed by a plethora of undeniable evidence - yet TfL haven’t contacted the police to investigate; as if they did, TfL would be found to be complicit in the fraud – It doesn’t surprise me the police aren’t involved, the police IMO are also complicit with this fascist agenda.

I seriously do not believe there is one real socialist MP in the House of Commons; they all seem to be on side with the governments fascist agenda to let Uber survive at all costs, all morals are to be put aside on this issue - They all seem to be busy hopping around like ducks in the HOC in outrage that a journalist masquerading as a hostess got a pat on the arris at the Directors fund raiser at the Dorchester hotel – Yet no outrage over one person a week being raped in a Uber vehicle, bloody hypocrites!

If there were any justice in this world, the corporate criminals and their co- conspirators would face criminal charges – And Uber/ TfL would have to pay back every penny they have fraudulently obtained to compensate for the damage they have caused. Millions in revenue has been lost, and lives have been ruined in this fraud!

L.Green


TAXI LEAKS COMMENT : FROM GRANT DAVIS 
After again being a cheerleader for UBER on National TV, this idiotic PM makes another crass statement.

So the women who suffered the 48 sexual assaults by UBER drivers last year deserved to be “used by men” then?


Theresa May’s husband is a senior executive at a $1.4tn investment fund that profits from tax avoiding companies.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT 
BY LAURENCE GREEN.

 
Davos Revisited...
To further add to my earlier posting I would like to bring to your attention that Theresa May and Sadiq Khan are meant to act appropriately, by impartially making decisions with probity in mind and shouldn't’ meet, endorse or support companies involved in criminal behaviour or activity.

Theresa May' speech at the Davos summit yesterday - extolling the virtues of a corrupt, fraudulent company which obtained a PH operators licence with fraudulent intent, is not only morally corrupt, it surely must be in breach of the HOC Code of Conduct.

It is my opinion the Uber appeal against the TfL licence decision cannot be won, as the Uber operators licence was obtained fraudulently – to date this fraudulent company has harvested millions, upon millions of pounds and shipped the money out of the country by the truck load, using tax haven loopholes to creatively avoid paying taxes. Surely this is against the public interest !

There is also some questionable doubt whether the regulator TfL is as innocent as they claim to be, everything points towards TfL being a willing participant, by deliberately failing to be diligent in scrutinising Uber as a company and the legality of its app against legislation.

Much of what has been unearthed by FOI requests points towards malfeasance, corruption and malevolent intent to allow a crime to be committed, with complete impunity for all involved, no matter what their level of involvement.

I think Theresa May should be reported for breaching the HOC Code of Conduct and Sadiq Khan be held accountable for not ensuring the police carry out a criminal investigation - Crime has been committed under their remit of office and their actions are questionable under the circumstances, to say the least.

Bellow are four clauses in the HOC Code of Conduct, that IMO Theresa May has breached.


Duties of Members :
4. By virtue of the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance taken by all Members when they are elected to the House, Members have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, according to law.

5. Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.
6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.
7. Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources .

Most diligent taxi drivers have written to their respective MP's in good faith and have received patronising replies I believe are in breach of the HOC Code of Conduct - their elected MP's have belligerently replied failing to acknowledge laws have been breached and broken, making it quite clear they have no intention of acting upon their constituents behalf as they are taxi drivers; this I believe is discrimination!

L.Green

TAXI LEAKS FINAL COMMENT:


FOI requests from the LCDC to the Met showed that #UberRape increased by 50% in the following year to 48. That's almost one a week....



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Garden Bridge Trust Refuses To Hand Over Meeting Records : A Murkier Side To TfL, Perhaps?


Critics say the charity behind the aborted Garden Bridge has ‘gone rogue’ after it refused to provide its public sector sponsor Transport for London with records of its key decisions despite the loss of close to £50 million of taxpayers’ money 

The AJ revealed earlier this month that TfL had called upon the Garden Bridge Trust to produce copies of the minutes of its board meetings. (That's strange, the Commisioner of TfL allegedly loves a secret meeting)

As well as funding and helping to establish the trust in late 2013, TfL oversees the charity and had the right to attend these meetings.

However, following pressure from London Assembly’s oversight committee, TfL’s commissioner Mike Brown admitted before Christmas that it had failed to keep copies of the minutes. (How very appropriate Mike)

The oversight committee is continuing to investigate the scandal of the £200m Heatherwick-designed bridge amid continuing questions about how an estimated £46.4 million could have been spent on the project without construction being started.

In a letter dated January 9, replying to the request from TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams, the trust’s executive director Bee Emmott (pictured) said the organisation did not consider that it was required to produce the minutes.

While the Garden Bridge’s 2015 deed of grant sets out TfL’s right to inspect copies of the trust’s records of the project’s progress along with income and expenditure, Emmott argued that this was never intended to include the ‘dealings of the trust’.

In the letter, she wrote: ‘As you know, we have been through an investigation by the Charity Commission, and have given them everything that they have asked for and been given a clean bill of health; and we have been through the Hodge Review, and given her everything that she had asked for – and we feel that there has to be a limit.

The trust’s refusal to provide copies of the minutes is astonishing. It begs the question of what they are trying to hide!!!

‘The time taken up by these exercises was both costly and a distraction from the primary business of the trust, and we do not feel it is right to add to that burden, on a purely speculative basis, at a time when the trust’s now very limited resources need to concentrate on closing down operations in a business-like way.’

Emmott - who worked at the bridge’s designer Heatherwick Studio before joining the Garden Bridge Trust - added that the trust had concerns about commercial confidentiality and was not covered by Freedom of Information laws.

She added: ‘As you know, TfL have been invited to trust board meetings and have attended the great majority of them, and have therefore been able to observe all dealings of the trust.’

TfL’s legal chief Howard Carter has now responded to Emmott to insist that the minutes be produced, demanding that she respond within 10 days.

‘I see no reason why the term “project records” would not encompass something as significant as board minutes, which are, clearly, the primary record for all significant decisions that were made in respect of the project,’ Carter wrote in his letter of January 22. ‘I am sure that on further consideration the trustees will accept that it is right and proper that its decision-making is entirely transparent to the public.’


The project is dead – I cannot see how concerns about ‘commercial confidentiality’ can apply in this instance
London Assembly and oversight committee member Tom Copley, who has been calling for the minutes to be published for several months, said TfL might now need to consider legal action to force the trust’s hand.

‘Arrogance and hubris have been the hallmark of the Garden Bridge Trust’s attitude to scrutiny and challenge over the years since its unfortunate inception,’ he said.

‘But even by their standards, the trust’s refusal to provide TfL with copies of the minutes of their board meetings is astonishing. It begs the question of what they are trying to hide – not just from the public but from the organisation that bankrolled them with millions of pounds of taxpayer cash.

‘The fact this project was set up at arms-length from TfL despite the level of public money being spent on it has led to problems with transparency and accountability from the very beginning.

‘Given the trust is winding up and the project is dead I cannot see how concerns about “commercial confidentiality” can apply in this instance. The trust may want the bridge to die as it lived – shrouded in secrecy – but taxpayers deserve to know what decisions were taken by those responsible for the loss of their money.’

Dan Anderson, a tourist attractions expert at consultant Fourth Street who has closely followed the Garden Bridge saga, said TfL and the trust seemed to be trying to top each other in terms of ‘outrageous’ behaviour.

‘TfL put £46 million into this project – they should have some proper documents somewhere,’ he said. ‘And now it appears that the Garden Bridge Trust has gone rogue and won’t provide them. How on earth did we get to this place?’

The Garden Bridge Trust declined to comment.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
So Athe Garden Bridge Trust refuses to make public, meetings held in secret..... Sounds familiar. 
TFL's Mike Brown loves a secret meeting....

Remember deputy Mayor Dedring?
Went from loddying in favour of the company building the bridge, to working for them! 

Vince Cable: TfL chief should face inquiry over £7m Garden Bridge grant


Transport for London boss Mike Brown should face investigation after overseeing a 2016 decision to plough millions of pounds of public money into the Garden Bridge, apparently in contravention of its own rules, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has said

Amid continuing scrutiny over how an estimated £46.4 million was spent on the aborted project, Mike Brown last week confirmed that TfL had made a crucial judgement call in deciding to sign off a £7 million payment to the Garden Bridge Trust when the latter was poised to sign its construction contract with Bouygues in early 2016.

Brown, who has been TfL commissioner since September 2015, made the admission in a newly published letter to the chair of the London Assembly’s oversight committee, Len Duvall. In it he acknowledged that TfL had concluded that the trust had met all six conditions set out in the funding agreement between the two organisations.

Oh what a tangled web we weave !
As they say, 'Follow the money'.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Exclusive: London Taxi Radio TV ... Readdressing The Balance.

On Friday afternoon, the Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) called the fifth in its series of protests on behalf of the London Taxi trade. The venue, Aldwych and the Strand.


The police blocked all approaches to normal traffic, but Taxis were allowed through to join up with their colleagues.

Within minutes the location became completely encircled and the drivers were left unhindered to continue with their three hour protestation.

Weary of the constant misrepresentation of our trade, 'London Taxi Radio TV' sent along three presenters plus a cameraman, to film and record an interview with a news team from London Live Satellite TV channel, who had called LTR earlier to arrange a meet.

Below, is the must watch account of our grievances,  explained in detail to the presenter.... plus what the news channel actually put out.


  


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:
Corruption and collusion goes from the top of TfL, through the Mayor's office....all the way to No10





The Private Hire Act 1998 sec26(2) clearly states; in the interest of public safety, an operators licence can be revoked with 'Immediate Effect'.
London Live failed to report this information.

London Live owned by Lededov Holdings, who also own The Evening Standard.
The Standards Editor, none other than George Osborne 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

LCDC members vote to ban Gett from advertising in their in house paper “The Badge”


You may have seen on Twitter last night, that the London Cab Drivers Club members have decided NOT to advertise the on line app GETT in the Badge anymore.

The reason for the ban is that GETT have now confirmed, they will be fitting 500 London taxis with mapping cameras to gain Data.

This Data, can then be sold to anyone they like (including UBER?) and be used in autonomous vehicles.

Just think about this.... they can and will sell the Knowledge we earned through sweat & toil over many years on our scooters. 

The club made this statement today:

We, like you are just taxi drivers and cannot tell people what to do.  But I explained to GETT today, we feel their move is just a Bridge to far and we will no longer be accepting advertising from them.


Monday, January 22, 2018

No More Secrets: No More Embargoes: All Meetings With TfL Must Be Minuted: Plus More From The ITA.

Last week, there was an all trade meeting with TfL commissioner Mike Brown.


First item on the agenda was a short speech from Mike Brown telling the org/union leaders that there would be no discussion on Uber.

At this point the group should have got up en masse and walked out the meeting.

The trade have been having these meetings with the TfL  commissioner for over 5 years...although few and far between with Mike Brown who refused meetings for 8 months last year.

What has been achieved from these secret squirrel, un-minuted,  confidential meetings.... I’ll tell you....  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

And the reason the orgs won’t make a fuss is that they’ve all signed a good behaviour clause in order to attend.

So why do they go.... possibly because it makes these expensive no marks feel important. 
TfL have put strings on our org leaders and dangle them around like puppets.

Gone is the militancy, gone is the fire in the belly, gone is the Dunkirk spirit and soon gone will be their memberships.

Rank and file drivers are starting to sit up and realise, their orgs are not fighting for them...they’ve become benign collaborators.

With the emergence of driver led groups such as the Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA), Drivers are waking up to the fact that they are being ripped off by the orgs and their subs (in certain cases) are financing life stiles that rank and file drivers could never aspire to. 

It’s easy when you have employed status, large salaries, luxury company cars, fabulous offices, to say “let’s sit back and see what happens....wait and see... don’t protest”. And yet, what do the trade as a whole get back for its money, a lanyard, a sticker, and if your lucky...a diary.

One org has formed an enterprise company where it’s written into their constitution they can still get paid even if deselected in an election, or retired.

The political alliances of our Unions will not see them take issue against a labour Mayor. What good is that to our trade?

60% of the trade do not belong to any trade org and to be totally honest, looking at the representation offered, who can blame them.

Of the 40%, most will say, the only reason they subscribe to an org is for legal cover... this can be obtained privately at a considerable saving.

Our trade media are very careful what they say in their respective publications, for fear of upsetting their advertisers. Many drivers never read the trade press for this reason and again, who can blame them. 

Some Good News Though.
I heard last week that one org will not be advertising certain trade apps in any of its future publications... and about time too. This is to be applauded and should be emulated throughout all trade media, published and social. 

For years, our trade under poor leadership, has looked to fight the wrong criminals, the wrong enemy. 

The truth is, we should have been fighting the enemy within. The ones who sold us down the river for a seat at the fold up table. 

Militant groups like the RMT and then the UCG were formed in stark defiance of the old guard United Trade Group (UTG) who had signed up to John Mason’s one-sided engagement policy. 
Yet under the new Mayor, they too signed a hamstringing engagement policy with its good behaviour clause. 

The trade is being led down the wrong valley again by woefully inadequate leadership, like the heroic light brigade at Balaclava, massacred, victims of extreme poor generals.


We lost that battle, but we didn’t lose the war because we then sent in the heavy brigade
That’s what the ITA are offering the trade, a heavy brigade.

Have we learned from history?
Who would have thought ten years ago that today we would be totally outnumbered by one PH company, surrounded like the troops at Rorke’s drift


John ‘the cabby’ Kennedy warned us what was happening, when he was chair of the RMT.
But no one listened and he left the battlefield.

Semtex warned us that men were coming to kill us.
He also warned us about the enemy within.
But no one listened and he too left.

The ITA are now telling us, we don’t need these expensive un-achieving orgs, we’ve got nothing to lose and now is the time for drivers to fight back.

They've got a very good bass section mind, but they got no top tenors for sure.

This time drivers are listening, and starting to take notice. Every protest draws more and more combatants ready to fight for their job.

Our band of brothers gets bigger week by week. 

No surrender, Stronger Together!

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT FROM THE ITA:

Everytime TfL and another complicit mayor makes a decision that is unjust and affects our trade, we must make TfL and the mayor pay, and inform the media of wrongdoings. A single protest has no real effect. We cannot sit on our hands and hope bad people do right by us.



If you're asking if Mike Brown rang me at home that night, the answer is no, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Protests are an important 'part' of the process, but don’t think for one minute TfL didn't feel the punch this week.

We will win or die trying. If we die, we'll take some of them with us

• ALL MEETINGS MUST BE MINUTED! 

•  WE ALL MUST KNOW WHAT TFL ARE SAYING, AND WHAT INDIVIDUALS ARE PUTTING THEIR NAME TOO! 

• NO MORE SECRETS FROM DRIVERS! 

•  ALL 23K DRIVERS ARE AFFECTED BY WHAT GOES ON IN THESE MEETINGS. MEMBERS OR NOT, THEY SHOULD BE INFORMED! 

•  NO MORE TFL SECRETS!